It’s still spring but this was a summer storm – the kind that comes so suddenly it feels like God unzipped the roof.
I was standing under the overhang of at a downtown Metro station with a growing handful of umbrella-less people waiting for enough cessation to dance between the fat and furious raindrops to our destinations. I was more fortunate than most as my only appointment was a meeting of the Friday Four O’clock Cigar Club.
Angela emerged from the subway a few moments behind me. She opened a silver cigarette case and pulled one of the contents to her lips. She made no effort to find a lighter, perhaps because she didn’t have one or more likely because she looks like the kind of woman who is accustomed to having men light her cigarettes for her. I was happy to oblige.
“Thank you, apparently it’s not dead” she said.
“All indications are that it’s on life support but certainly not dead just yet.”
I retraced the two steps I had taken to extend my lighter to her and went back to reading email on the crackberry.
“So that’s your thing? You appear out of nowhere, light a woman’s fire and then go back to whatever you were doing so you look mysterious, is that you’re thing?” Angela volleyed.
“Ha, No, that’s not quite the plan. I just think that courtesies should be extended on their own accord and not because the recipient happens to be good looking.”
“It doesn’t look like it’s going to let up anytime soon” Angela said by way of changing the subject.
“Yeah, I think I am just going to give up and just go upstairs to Morton’s for a cocktail. Would you care to join me?”
It was a throwaway invitation – the kind that is only accepted in the movies. Not just because two strangers rarely meet on the street and share a cocktail minutes later (though more people should) but also because Angela is extremely tall for a woman and I am of average height for a man. Yet she accepted.
I don’t think it took more than five minutes before I thought differently of both the offer and acceptance. We had barely settled into a corner table on the covered patio and my bourbon had yet to arrive before a string of questions from Angela had been asked (and mostly obfuscated) in an effort for her to discern one thing: do I have enough money and/or juice to justify her sitting with me.
Where did I go to school? Grad School? What do I do for a living? Where do I live? When did I buy? Parents?
About the time that Angela finished her glass of wine and the first part of her questioning, I had reached my breaking point.
“Thanks for having a drink with me. If you leave me your business card, I am pretty sure that I can forward you my CV and credit report right from my blackberry.”
“I don’t think that will be necessary” she said her body unfolded from the chair and she grabbed her purse.
“I suppose not, but thanks anyway for having the drink.”